Living with ADHD: Planning the year ahead

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Failing to plan ahead can cause unnecessary anxiety, stress and overwhelm.  Leading to broken commitments, missed appointments, overlooking important things and the general feeling of chaos.  Planning in advance when you have ADHD can feel like a hopeless and pointless idea.  

So why do people with ADHD struggle to plan in advance?

Good planning requires the use of the executive function, self-discipline, focus and motivation.  These are traits that many ADHDers are lacking or struggle with. Sometimes it’s because we’re not very good at the detail.

Many people with ADHD prefer to focus on the here and now and worry about the future later.  It can sometimes feel like our internal clock is totally out of sync with the rest of the world, making planning a tricky task.

Why is planning so important?

For many of us, we’re already living with anxiety, stress, depression and overwhelm.  When things go wrong, commitments forgotten, deadlines missed, appointments overlooked, it causes us additional stress and worry.  

By planning ahead, we can help to reduce some of this stress and overwhelm.  And we do have the skills in us, it’s just learning how best to harness them!

If it’s something we’re interested in, we can find the focus and motivation to get the job done.  But the chances are organising your time and planning ahead isn’t one of them!

So how can you plan ahead when living with ADHD?

Now I’m far from a time management expert.  Productivity and planning are things I struggle with myself.  However, I’ve gained tips and advice on my own journey and I want to share this advice with you today.

We do have the skills to focus and motivate ourselves into making plans.  We just need to change the angle.

Start off by making a list of everything you want to get done this year.  Include any commitments, appointments things that must be done.

Now I want you to mark on the list the things that you find interesting and excite you.  These, of course, are going to be easy to get done because we feel motivated to do them.  

But there will be some things and certain responsibilities we have to do and must be done that may seem boring and mundane.  So, mark anything that is crucial or really important.

You’ve already taken your first step into time management by prioritising things on your list!

Now there are different approaches you can take with the rest of the items on the list.  

The easiest option, is there someone who can help you with these tasks?  Whether it’s a family member to help you, someone who enjoys the things you don’t that you can swap skills and do something for them?  Or maybe there’s someone you can hire or pay to do them for you.  

If this isn’t an option, why not change them and make them interesting?

How can you make something dull and boring into something that interests you?!

Learn about it

Dig deeper.  If it’s something you don’t enjoy, why not learn more about it.  You may find out something that interests you and motivates you to get the job done.  There are so many different ways to learn so doesn’t mean you have to sit and read a book.  Ask people who specialise or love this particular task. Their knowledge and enthusiasm could spark an interest within.

Change it

Don’t just take things as they are.  What if you try changing something about what you need to do?  Look at it from another angle. Turn it inside out, upside down, bigger, smaller, warmer, cooler, faster, slower.  Change something about it and see what effect it has.

Focus on the reason why

Instead of looking at it as a boring thing that needs to be done, try to connect with the reason why it needs to be done.  As an example, maybe you’ve been meaning to sort out life insurance. We all know we need it but the idea of searching and reading through policies and quotes can seem like a boring and uninteresting task.  

But focusing on the reason why you’re doing it and thinking okay I need to provide for my spouse and children for the future and thinking of the end result can make it a much more appealing thing to sort out.

If you want to find some help to get your brain working with you, to find balance, harmony and tranquillity and start to live well with ADHD then why not book in for a consultation assessment with me?  Click here to book your appointment now.